There are many types of volunteer opportunities that take special skills or abilities. While becoming a teen mentor doesn’t require any trade skills or special degrees, two things are absolutely essential: a caring heart and good communication skills. If you volunteer as a teen mentor, it goes without saying that you already have a caring heart. However, everyone can improve their communication skills! Here are three communication skills that every teen mentor needs.
How to Really Listen
Communicating with teens can be incredibly frustrating at times. Because teens crave independence they may push you away in a false attempt to get it. It takes a special person to put up with a teen when they are ready to argue with everything you say. Thankfully, there is one way to communicate with teens that won’t spark a single argument. Just listen. Don’t listen to judge, don’t listen to contradict; don’t listen to condescend. Really listen to understand. This involves more than just your ears. It involves the very best that your thinking brain, your heart, and even your eyes can give. Listen beyond their words and see their heart.
How to Stay Calm
Communicating with troubled teens can all too easily become a screaming match. It can take a mountain of willpower to stay calm in the face of a teen’s best sarcasm, accusations, insults, and defiance, but staying calm is paramount. When a troubled teen learns that they can’t ruffle your feathers, that is when real communication can finally begin.
How to Be Genuine
Some teens may be a bit dense when it comes to picking up on not-so-subtle hints to take the trash out or wash their dishes but they are experts when it comes to sniffing out insincerity. The best teen mentors don’t have to do much because the fact that they truly care about their kids takes care of most of the work. If you are having trouble sincerely loving the kids you mentor, take some time to really get to know them. Spend time with them when they are at their best such as when they are engaged in a hobby or doing something they love. Everyone is lovable if you are willing to break through that tough exterior and find the vulnerable human within.
As stated before, the only skills you really need to be the kind of teen mentor that changes lives is a caring heart and good communication skills. When you truly care about your teens and take the time to really listen, hearts can open in astonishing ways.
Are you ready to open your heart to teens in need? Simply click here to learn how to become a mentor today!